Your organization offers world-class benefits, better than any of your competitors. Your employee recruitment, engagement, and retention are sub par. You keep losing employees to your competitors. What gives? Maybe it’s an issue with your management team.

The Management Problem

According to studies by Gallup, the fault might lie with your managers and the way that you are selecting them. As much as 82% of the time, companies fail to choose the candidate with the right talent for the job. This failure translates to larger problems:

Managers account for at least 70% of variance in employee engagement scores across business units, Gallup estimates. This variation is in turn responsible for severely low worldwide employee engagement. Gallup reported in two large-scale studies in 2012 that only 30% of U.S. employees are engaged at work, and a staggeringly low 13% worldwide are engaged. Worse, over the past 12 years, these low numbers have barely budged, meaning that the vast majority of employees worldwide are failing to develop and contribute at work.

Gallup says that if excellent managers seem scarce, it’s because they are: Their research shows that only about one in 10 people possess the talent to manage. And one common corporate tendency can exacerbate things: “Most companies promote workers into managerial positions because they seemingly deserve it, rather than have the talent for it.”

The Management Opportunity

Bad managers almost always lead to problems. For example, one in two employees leave a job to get away from a manager at some point in their life. Conversely, good managers almost always lead to opportunities. Gallup addresses this in their recent article, The No. 1 Employee Benefit That No One’s Talking About.

They suggest that organizations that invest in good manages can impact productivity and engagement, can improve the organization culture and foster retention, and can improve employee recruitment.  Gallup suggests proactively positioning good managers as a key benefit in attracting new hires.

Of course, that means first devoting the resources to building and nurturing a top-tier management team. Gallup says:

  • Understand the characteristics of a great manager
  • Select and promote managers for the right reasons
  • Talk about great managers as your company’s No. 1 benefit

For more on managers and what makes them great, you can download Gallup’s State of the American Manager – a report based on a study of 2.5 million manager-led teams in 195 countries, featuring analysis measuring the engagement of 27 million employees. Gallup adds that, “The report examines the crucial link among talent, engagement and vital business outcomes, including profitability and productivity.”


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